Boat Ropes, Dock Ties, & Bungee Lines – What's the Difference?

Boat Ropes, Dock Ties, & Bungee Lines – What's the Difference?

In the boating world – ropes, dock ties, and bungee lines are a necessity. Some of them are geared for specific use, while others can be used in versatile ways. Back in the day, the "OG" way to tie up your boat or take a skier out on the water would be to use a standard rope. And even today, many folks have not strayed from this durable product. However, there are some incredible boat ropes, dock ties, and bungee lines that have hit the current market and are worth your attention and every dollar spent. 

Take a look at our findings and recommendations to help you choose which rope, tie, line, and bungee is best for you!!

Boat Ropes

There are several different kinds of boat/sailing ropes from Natural to Synthetic to Manila. We are going to talk about two primary boat ropes used for skiing and tying off your boat to a dock – Nylon and Polypropylene. 

Nylon rope is the best for docking and mooring because of its strength and stretch. A nylon rope returns to its original shape after stretching. A double braid or three-strand line should do the trick. Easy to splice and reasonably priced, nylon rope is definitely the way to go. Nylon rope does not rot or mildew and is not damaged by oils, gasoline, grease, marine growth or most chemicals other than acids. 

Polypropylene rope is know to most people as "that yellow rope" that's commonly used to tow skiers, wake boards, and dinghies. Polypropylene rope floats, in turn it is very versatile and can be useful for many boating activities. It is a very strong synthetic rope with excellent abrasion resistance, however the polyester does not have the stretch and elasticity of nylon. Polypropylene is also considerably less resistant to the sun's UV rays and will normally not last long. This type of rope will begin to visibly disintegrate as it ages. 

You might also want to reference What are the Most Important Knots for Boating? before securing your rope purchase. 

Boat Lines - Mooring, Docking, & Anchoring

It's important to start with the basics. Here's a few definitions you should know about mooring, docking, and anchoring. A boat line is a nautical term used to describe a length of rope used for marine and boating purposes. A cleat is the piece of horn-shaped hardware attached to both your boat and usually to the dock to which you'll secure the dock lines. Never try to secure a dock line to another part of your boat, like a railing, the windshield frame or a passenger grab handle.

What is a Mooring Line? A Mooring Line is a nautical term used to describe a length of rope (e.g. a line) used to moor (connect / fasten / make fast) a marine vessel to dock, pile, wharf, buoy field, the shoreline, lake bottom, and or sea bottom. Mooring lines (also called warps) are used to tie the boat to the dock using cleats. Mooring lines are usually from manila rope or a synthetic material such as nylon. The most conventional types used in mooring include polyester, polypropylene, polyethylene, and polyamide. Nylon is most-likely the strongest mooring line and easiest to work with. It will last for years and highly elastic.

Fun Fact: The end of the line tied to something on the boat or dock is called the “standing end” and the free end of the line is called the “bitter end”.

What is an Anchor Line? An Anchor Line is a very heavy rope or chain by which a ship's anchor is hoisted. Chain has several benefits when using as an anchor line, including added weight, chafe and wear resistance, and high strength. It also lowers the angle of pull on the anchor, which helps it to set more firmly into the bottom. However when using an anchor line on a consistent basis, it is most beneficial to use a standard nylon rope or nylon material line. As we've learned nylon is a very durable type of material, has an elastic give which absorbs energy, and is relatively inexpensive. It's also easy to handle and resists the harmful effects of sunlight better than other synthetics. It's the line of choice for anchoring rode.

Boat Bungees - Lines, Ties, and Ropes

Bungee lines, ties, and ropes for boating have become much more popular over the last decade. As mentioned, the standard rope and line is great and has many benefits when boating, but the newer bungee lines have some pretty impressive advantages as well. Take a look!

Bungee Dock Lines absorb shock to boats, cleats, docks, pylons and other hardware. The bungee cord is hidden inside the rope and acts as a built-in snubber. As the cord is stretched, the interior core of elasticated fibers lengthens and builds tension, while the braided exterior tightens around the core. This allows it to be used for countless number of applications, including everything from tying objects down (without a knot) to lifting and towing. Bungee Dock Lines provide a "give" to the line, so the water vessel does not slap back into the dock. 

The core (bungee cord) can be made from either natural or synthetic rubber. Multiple strands of the rubber are bundled together, then surrounded by a flexible sheath – typically woven from cotton, polypropylene, or nylon. Some lines have 2-Looped Ends, while others have one Hook and one Loop or 2 Hooks

Some say Bungee Dock Lines are a Game Changer for your boat docking experience!

Here's 5 Reasons Why Bungee Lines, Ties, and Ropes are Great Investments!

  • Flexible Stretch Design
  • Incredibly Durable
  • Long-Lasting Construction
  • UV Resistant
  • Waterproof

What is a Boat Anchor Bungee Line?Boat Anchor Bungee Line is the same as an anchor line, but is made with a bungee cord within a very heavy and sturdy material by which a boat's anchor is hoisted. The major benefit of bungee anchor line is that is makes the anchor much easier to pull up.

    What is a Bungee Boat Rope? A Bungee Boat Rope is a type of stretchy rope consisting of elastic strands often in a fabric casing. The bungee cord (often referred to as a shock cord) is a type of rope, which consists of an elasticated rubber core and a braided outer sheath. The elasticated bungee cord can be selected as a cost-effective alternative to metal chains – used to lift, move, and lower heavy items and equipment. But most commonly, they’re used to secure objects into place, without having to tie a knot.

    Most bungee ropes have either a polyester or polypropylene outer cover and a natural rubber core. And as a result of these materials, they demonstrate many useful properties. 

      As you can see there are many different kinds of boat ropes, dock ties, and bungee lines. The choice is yours! Happy Boating!!



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      All third-party marks listed above are the sole property of their respective owner. No affiliation or endorsement is intended or implied. Boat Lines And Dock Ties and some products featured on the site are owned by the same company.)

      (Remember to inspect your boat lines and dock ties and replace as needed. Boat lines and dock ties weather and weaken over time.)

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